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Literature / Outlaws Shadow

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Prince John was trying to steal a kingdom. And Guy wanted his cut.
Subtitled “A Sherwood Noir”, Outlaw’s Shadow is an ebook Historical Fiction re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend by Nathan Hopkins that mashes up Perspective Flip, Film Noir, Mythology Gag, and forgotten history to create a crime thriller told from the perspective of Robin Hood’s Evil Counterpart, Guy Of Gisbourne.

Available here.


  • Action Girl: Guy former betrothed, Marian Of Ashfield, was his old sparring partner, and uses a two-handed longsword very well.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The book’s version of Guy mixes together various interpretations of the character from earlier works - he’s a former corrupt knight and forester for the Sheriff of Nottingham like in much film and television, a Bounty Hunter seeking out outlaws for the Undersheriff like in the original ballads, and an outlaw like in the Howard Pyle version.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Several, both from the original legends and in a mirror of them for the new elements - Lady Lilian and Finch Fitzwalter mirror Maid Marian, while the Fine Fellows mirror the Merry Men.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Lillian expresses this to Guy, but can’t bring herself to say she “loves” him, instead saying she “needs” him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Guy’s flirtation with Lillian takes a serious turn when he realizes that she’s a bastard daughter of Old King Henry.
  • Batman Gambit: Guy’s well-known animosity towards the Hood is manipulated by a single lie in a letter he is asked to read, setting him on the path to reigniting their feud. It works… but too well.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Will the Scarlet is one of the friendlier Merry Men to Guy’s Fine Fellows when the two groups meet. Then in the final skirmish at the end of the book, he turns out to have an axe and kills a named character as part of his Dynamic Entry.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Dismas, Tuck’s companion, is a bald and goofy Frenchman who annoys Guy with his antics. He’s also Robin Hood.
  • Canon Character All Along: Tuck’s French-speaking companion Dismas turns out to be Robin Hood while the initially background character of Finch Fitzwalter turns out to be Maid Marian.
  • Combat Breakdown: Robin and Guy’s climactic fight starts with them both using a sword and shield on the ground, and ends with them trying to choke or strangle each other in muddy water.
  • Corrupt Church: Archbishop Geoffrey Fitzroy of York, who combines this with Corrupt Cop by holding the office of High Sheriff of York as well... because he employs and commands Guy and the Fine Fellows of Barnesdale as his own gang.
  • The Dragon: Flatnose Hob, who becomes genuine friends with Guy because of his loyalty.
  • Evil Counterpart: Several to multiple characters from the legend:
    • Guy of Gisbourne himself is one to Robin Hood, as another outlaw gang leader who uses Bow and Sword in Accord, and has a romantic history with Maid Marian. They’re also The Rival to each other.
    • Lady Lillian is this to Maid Marian, as a Love Interest with Added Alliterative Appeal, but is the Femme Fatale to Marian’s Action Girl.
    • Archbishop Geoffrey is a power hungry and corrupt high ranking clergyman compared to the humble holy man Tuck, and they both occupy a place of authority in Guy’s life.
    • The Fine Fellows of Barnesdale are this to the Merry Men Of Sherwood... though with Guy as their leader, they end up losing other possible counterparts.
  • Evil Virtues: Guy has Villainous Valor in spades, while Flatnose Hob has Undying Loyalty.
  • Eye Scream: Guy had Arthur-a-Bland’s eye put out when Guy was Chief Forester of Sherwood... and cuts out the other one when he believes Arthur has betrayed him.
  • Femme Fatale: Lady Lillian, Guy’s mysterious Love Interest, who’s Old King Henry’s bastard daughter and who manipulates Guy and betrays her older half-brothers Archbishop Geoffrey and King Richard for Prince John.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Played for drama at the end, with fatal results for Flatnose Hob.
  • Good Shepherd: Tuck, who here is actually a shared friend and mentor between Guy and Robin, is a healer who tends to Flatnose Hob’s wounds, and is generally just an awesome guy.
  • The Ghost: Prince John is working behind the scenes to destabilize the kingdom, but makes no appearance, even as his schemes directly impact events.
  • Historical Domain Character: King Richard the Lion Heart and Prince John are of course mentioned, but their older half-brother, the bastard-born Geoffrey Fitzroy, is actually the Man Behind the Man for Guy as the Archbishop of York.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Guy is aware of his flaws and mistakes, particularly at the end of the book... but just doubles down on his bad decisions.
  • Master Archer: Hood, or course, though Guy isn’t a slouch. Hood’s just that much better.
  • Master Swordsman: Guy is this, though he’s also an unabashed Combat Pragmatist not above preemptive attacks, dagger strikes, and Dual Wielding.
  • Mauve Shirt: Wiley, the most featured of the Fine Fellows after Guy, Hob, and Arthur. Will the Scarlet makes his Dynamic Entry by first throwing his axe into him, then running forward and finishing him off with it.
  • Meaningful Name: Dismas, Tuck’s companion, shares his name with the Penitent Thief from Christian Apocrypha. And appropriate for an alias of Robin Hood.
  • Mythology Gag: Several, some of which can act as examples of Genius Bonus to fans of the mythos.
    • Hood and Guy exchange a taunt from The Adventures of Robin Hood, but switching lines.
    • Maid Marian uses the alias Finch Fitzwalter, their traditional surname.
    • Guy and Lillian are sent to investigate the mysterious increase in wealth that Sir Richard of Lee has come into, and are Entertainingly Wrong about what’s going on.
    • Robin Hood fans who hear that the one-eyed Fine Fellow is named Arthur-a-Bland will know he’s connected to the Merry Men.
  • My Greatest Failure: Guy lost his title as a knight and job as a forester thanks to a mistake that killed the High Sheriff’s daughter.
  • Order vs. Chaos: Archbishop Geoffrey does not have a very good relationship with King Richard, but is dedicated to preventing Prince John from destabilizing the kingdom because he knows how bad The Anarchy was.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How Hood hides his identity from Guy early in the book.
  • The Rival: Gisbourne and Hood, of course.
  • Stealth Sequel: Once the Archbishop briefs Guy on Sir Richard managing to pay his impossible debt, a savvy fan of the mythos will realize the story is a follow up to the classic ballad featuring the knight.
  • Too Clever by Half: The mastermind setting Guy against Hood again is clever to use their past animosity to sic Guy on Hood with a single deception, but underestimated how much Guy wants to personally defeat Hood... so Lillian betrays her own scheme to rescue Guy.
    • His siblings think that this description perfectly fits Prince John; he’s foolish, but not stupid, and doesn’t repeat his mistakes, but makes new ones.
  • Villain Protagonist: Guy, though he ends up getting worse.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Guy is being manipulated into picking a fight with Robin Hood.